Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa is one of Japanese cinema’s few household names in the west, due to such groundbreaking action films as Seven Samurai and The Hidden Fortress.

The enduring popularity of such titles lies in no small part to their open influence from Hollywood, particularly the westerns of directors such as John Ford. This in itself is reflected in the ease by which they’ve in turn established an action template so readily adapted by filmmakers from all over the world. Take a look at any recent historical epic, or indeed the battle scenes that comprise so much of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien adaptations, and try to imagine how they might look in an alternate universe in which Kurosawa never existed.

The obvious influence of these more monumental titles makes it easy to overlook the more humanistic, personal aspects of the master’s wide array of low-key, contemporary dramas and potent literary adaptations.

Here, Jasper Sharp takes us through ten essential Kurosawa titles.